Cabbage Rolls with Sausage and Hamburger and the Secret Ingredient --Chili Garlic Sauce

I was watching a cooking show recently and got excited to try cabbage rolls. There are some great videos out there on social media too with step-by-step instructions.

It’s a bit time consuming, but well worth the effort. You have to work in stages. If you’ve never attempted this before, don’t be intimidated. It’s not hard, just a little time consuming. If I can do it, you can!




hamburger meat

1-2 eggs

spaghetti sauce

chili garlic sauce


yellow onion


spring onions

grated cheese

butter or olive oil

Sorry I don’t have exact measurements — I’m bad that way. You’ll have to eyeball the meats you select and the size cabbage — you know, if you are just cooking for yourself, you might do a half a package of hamburger and a half a roll of sausage and only use some of the cabbage… If you have room in the freezer, I found that one tube of sausage, a poundish of hamburger and a good-sized cabbage worked out quite well.

Cook the cabbage
Make your filling
Stuff the cabbage leaves
Top with sauce and bake

I went to an Asian market and found a squatty, green cabbage. Wish I’d taken a photo, it had smooth leaves, not a Chinese cabbage, though that would work too, and might be easier to wrap with.

Cooked the cabbage and set it aside to cool while I chopped mushrooms, onions. I sauteed them with garlic powder (because I forgot to buy garlic–grr!) and set that aside.

Secret Ingredient — You should be able to find in an Asian market.

I browned a combination of half sage sausage and hamburger, to which I added a few hefty dollops of chili garlic sauce. Depending on how much meat you have, you might add one or two eggs as a binder. I forgot, and it was okay, but it would have held together a bit better in the cabbage with an egg. When this was evenly browned, I added back in the chopped onion and mushrooms.

When the cabbage was cool, I peeled the leaves off and cut out the thick stemmy part at the base of each leaf. If you have the space, you might set the leaves out on a board or pan to dry–they retain a lot of moisture. I was in a hurry and didn’t have a big board or cookie sheet, so I just patted them dry with paper towels.

I filled a leaf with three spoonfuls of the meat mixture, rolled it into another leaf and set it snug in a glass pan. As the cabbage leaves got smaller, I ended up using three or even four leaves to a bundle. My leaves were able to keep the bundle shape without toothpicks, but you can use toothpicks if you prefer, just remember to remove them later!

Yes, I cheated on the sauce. I used a jar of sauce to cover the rolls. I chopped up some spring onions and scattered them on the top, then sprinkled with grated cheese.

I baked the rolls in the oven at 385 degrees for about 35 minutes. Served with basmati rice on the side. Paired with a red blend wine. Heaven! The chili inside the rolls was a nice contrast to the tomato sauce on the outside, gave it a bit of zing.

So since the chili sauce with garlic was a success, I’m thinking that a vegetarian version would substitute zucchini for the meat, and green chili sauce instead of red chili sauce. Zucchini and corn? lima beans? I’m looking forward to trying this next. I love green chili sauce. Will post the update when I do.

Green and red– perfect comfort food for the winter holiday season!

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